Ramallah, November 2, 2023—Israeli forces killed two Palestinian boys earlier today in the occupied West Bank, bringing the total number of Palestinian children killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7 to 41.
Ayham Mohammad Talal Al-Shafi, 12, was shot in the chest with live ammunition by Israeli forces from a distance of about 50 meters (164 feet) away around 9 a.m. on November 2 in the Palestinian town of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces entered Al-Bireh to conduct arrest operations and Ayham was shot during confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Ayham was transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Hamdan Omar Mahmoud Hamdan, 13, was shot in the back of the head by Israeli forces when they opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle around 4 p.m. on October 30 near the entrance to the Palestinian village of Zawata, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Hamdan was sitting in the back seat of a car driven by his father when he sustained the gunshot wound to his head. Hamdan’s father drove him to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he remained in the intensive care unit until he was pronounced dead around 10 a.m. on November 2.
“Israeli forces are showing exactly how empowered they are to kill Palestinian children with impunity,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “International complicity in grave violations of human rights and war crimes have never been so clear as Palestinian children are killed in Gaza and the West Bank with little protest from any world leaders.”
Around the same time on October 30, 14-year-old Mohammad Abdulqader Jabr Kharaz was shot and killed by Israeli forces during confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians near the entrance to Zawata.
Israeli forces have escalated military operations throughout the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, carrying out increasing numbers of search and arrest operations.
41 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale bombardment on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.
So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 81 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 70 Palestinian children with live ammunition, six Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.
At least 128 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.